Men look at the Taipei 101 building from Elephant Mountain in Taipei on April 15, 2011. Leaders of China and Taiwan are expected to meet in a landmark event. Reuters/Pichi Chuang

Chinese President and Communist Party (CPC) chief Xi Jinping is set to meet the chairman of Taiwan's ruling Kuomintang (KMT) in May, officials announced Friday. It will be the first meeting between the heads of the two parties.

The leaders are expected to exchange views on CPC-KMT relations during the meeting, Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman of the Taiwan Work Office of the CPC Central Committee told Xinhua.

"This is an important event of the two parties' high-profile exchanges," Ma said.

KMT officials will travel to Beijing for the talks, after attending the Cross-Strait Economic, Trade and Culture Forum to be held on May 3 in Shanghai.

Economic ties between China and Taiwan have improved to their best level in decades since President Ma Ying-jeou took office in 2008, but an underlying political conflict remains.

Taiwan's KMT is the party of Chiang Kai-shek, the nationalist general who withdrew to Taiwan after losing the Chinese civil war to the communists in 1949. China regards the island as an integral part of its national territory, and has not ruled out the use of force to reclaim it.

The strength of Taiwanese concerns about Chinese influence was laid bare in March last year, when hundreds of students occupied Taipei's parliament. Protesters were angered by a trade pact agreed between China and Taiwan, which they feared could increase China's influence in Taiwan.

The KMT is seen as being pro-China, while the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is seen as leaning toward independence, Reuters reported.

Taiwan has consistently rejected integration into China on the basis of the “one country, two systems” formula that governs Hong Kong.